Intellectual Fashion Show 2016

Past exhibition

The central idea of the Intellectual Fashion Show 2016 is that fashion can dress the body and address the intellect. What we wear matters. This holds true even today when the world is flooded with disposable fast fashion.


In 1959 artist June Black staged the original Intellectual Fashion Show at the Architectural Centre Gallery in Wellington. That exhibition included paintings, ceramic wall sculptures and a provocative commentary, offering the concept of an ‘intellectual fashion house’ where the visitors were invited “to dress the mind away from commonplace associations…”.

It explored the metaphorical nature of clothing, and its relationship to our need for self-validation, dramatization, reassurance and the assertion of audacity. During her lifetime June Black imagined and named many conceptual costumes as an escape from and an armour to protect ‘the self’ against the rigours of daily life, social hypocrisy and cultural expectations, while also encouraging flamboyant self-creation.

The Intellectual Fashion Show 2016 is to reframe June Black’s inquiry within a relevant and contemporary context. To do so we offered 65 creative practitioners from many fields the opportunity to choose a metaphorical costume from June Black’s imaginative wardrobe and experiment with its expressive potential to fashion the body and the mind.

What would a Costume to be worn over a heavy heart look like? Or a Hat for elevated thoughts? And what makes for a Costume in which to invite undiluted pleasure?

The Intellectual Fashion Show 2016 is collaboration between Blikfang Gallery and the New Zealand Fashion Museum. It is a unique multi media exploration of the power of what we wear to give shape to our lives.

Curated by Doris de Pont and Janie van Woerden.

Supported by Area Design, Kingsize Studios, Big ColourGus Fisher Gallery, Blikfang Gallery and New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Watch co-curators Doris de Pont and Janie van Woerden talk about the exhibition, Intellectual Fashion Show 2016.

Garments in the exhibition

When & where

8 October - 5 November 2016

Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland